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ded to write you particularly relative to the reasons which induced my action in making these prisoners. When I heard at Cienfuegos, on the south side of Cuba, of these Commissioners having landed on the Island of Cuba, and that they were at Havana, and would depart in the English steamer of the 7th of November, I determined to intercept them, and carefully examined all the authorities on international law to which I had access, viz: Kent Wheaton, Vattel, besides various decisions of Sir Wiects the steamer in which they embarked, I ascertained in the Havana that she was a merchant vessel plying between Vera Cruz, the Havana and St. Thomas, carrying the mail by contract. The agent of the vessel, the son of the British Consul at Havana, was well aware of the character of these persons, that they engaged their passage and did embark in the vessel; his father had visited them, and introduced them as ministers of the Confederate States, on their way to England and France. The
The Daily Dispatch: December 16, 1861., [Electronic resource], The orders for the arrest of Mason and Slidell. (search)
owing is a copy of the orders issued by Captain Wilkes, of the San Jacinto, to Lieut. Fairfax, executive officer of that vessel, for the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell: "U. S. Steamer San Jacinto, At Sea, Nov. 8, 1861. "Sir: You will have the second and third cutters of this ship fully manned and armed, and be, in all respects, prepared to board the steamer Trent, now hove to under our guns. "On boarding her you will demand the papers of the steamer, her clearance from Havana, with the list of passengers and crew. "Should Mr. Mason, Mr. Slidell, Mr. Eustis and Mr. Macfarland be on board, you will make them prisoners, and send them on board this ship immediately, and take possession of her as a prize. "I do not deem it will be necessary to use force — that the prisoners will have the good sense to avoid any necessity for using it; but, if they should, they must be made to understand that it is their own fault. They must be brought on board. "All tr